Top 5 reasons to volunteer while at university

Written by Megan Jones

Starting and studying at university can be a stressful, scary time for a lot of young (and older!) people. Often it is the first time you have lived on your own and been responsible for washing clothes and making sure you have food to eat. As a second-year Primary Education student, I can firmly say it has been a unique challenge like nothing I have done before.

However, 10 days after moving to campus and starting an undergraduate degree, I reopened a Rainbow and a Brownie unit! Walking into a hall full of smiling, chatty girls brought a sense of normality to an otherwise chaotic Freshers' Week. Over a year later, I still walk into that hall every Thursday night and no matter how stressful my week has been, and no matter how many assignments I have due, the girls cheer me up and I have 2.5 hours of being carefree and a child again!

So, whether you are about to start university, have just started, or have been at uni for a while, here are my top 5 reasons to volunteer with Girlguiding while you are there!

1) Your CV

Everyone is constantly talking about enhancing your CV and making sure you stand out, whether it's from the other students looking for part-time jobs or other graduates once you have finished. It may seem a long way away but trust me, it will fly by! Girlguiding offers absolutely loads of transferable skills for pretty much any job, from the obvious experience of looking after children and planning/helping run activities (which will support childcare/nanny jobs) to generally being a determined and hard worker who is ready for anything!

2) Home away from home

As someone who openly suffers from anxiety, starting university felt like one constant panic attack. I didn't know anybody, had lectures all over campus, and I was terrified of flooding the site by doing my laundry! Girlguiding introduced me to local people who became like a second family to me, from my district commissioner who has answered all my questions, to the parents of girls in my unit who work at the university who check in on me (the dad of one of my Brownies is a maintenance man onsite!). I've even had parents bringing me dinner between Rainbows and Brownies! They have been absolute stars in helping me out with everything.

3) There's something for everyone

If you don't feel you can manage a degree alongside a weekly commitment to a regular unit, why not look at another role for you? From social media advertisement, helping with accounts or being an occasional helper at units who may need an extra pair of hands from time to time, there is something for everyone and every timeframe. Have a look at potential careers you may want to go into and see if there is a role you can link it to in order to get extra work experience. Don't be afraid to contact the local commissioner about other roles you could undertake!

4) A break from studying

Running two units gives me a break from studying. It forces me out of the uni bubble and gives me a reason to leave the library. I can use 10-minute breaks while writing an assignment to update GO or reply to waiting list enquiries. I get to plan fun and exciting activities, and get way too distracted by Pinterest and Youtube to find out about the latest crazes! It helps me create a work/life balance and allows me time to recharge before starting the next piece of work.

5) Finally... it's a great way to make new friends

I have met some amazing people through Girlguiding and have had the chance to take part in some incredible opportunities. Through being a leader I have made some friends from uni who I'd never have met otherwise, and grown closer to friends I already had. Several people from uni have come along to help one evening and stay to complete their leadership! I've had the rugby team, cheerleaders, yoga, writing and so many more societies come in and run tasters. This has led to me knowing more students than those just in my halls or on my course, which is great!

If this has got you thinking about volunteering, fill out the Join Us form today and a local commissioner will contact you about beginning the journey to find your perfect role. Have fun and make the most of all the opportunities you have while at uni!

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